6 Vintage Videos to Usher in Spring 2014 Fashion Week [VIDEO]

Posted on: September 5th, 2013 at 10:01 am by

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“Clothing of the Future,” 1930s.

Spring 2014 Fashion Week begins today and we’ve been giving carbs the evil eye, practicing our catwalk in 6” heels (still not there yet) and honing our martial arts skills, in case we need to fight with Anna Wintour over a front row seat. (As if.)

We know we’ll be getting an earful (and eyeful) of trends in the next week – the beautiful, the transcendent, and, well, the vapid. However, while waiting for the first “walk-off” to start, we went down the rabbit hole of fashion-centric videos from the past. Here is a roundup of some of our favorites:

1930s version of “Clothing of the Future.” The predictions for fashions in the year 2000 actually aren’t bad (they got the cantilevered heel just right and we kind of dig the men’s flight suit with the phone attached), plus the voice-over is priceless. And wearing an electric light on one’s head “to find an honest man” isn’t the worst idea we’ve ever heard.

Speaking of the future, here is the famous “Into the Future” fashion show scene from the 1939 film The Women. Most of the fashions shown were not exactly futuristic, looking only into the next decade, but the use of Technicolor for this single scene in the otherwise black and white film, was considered cutting edge. (With bonus monkeys, in matching outfits. Is there anything greater than THAT?) And yes, we would seriously commit a felony for that red and white Adrian gown with the matching cape.

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Film still from “The Women,” 1939.

Who are you, Polly Maggoo? is a favorite trippy fashion film from 1966. Nevermind the nonsensical (perhaps LSD-inspired?) script, this is all about the gorgeous visuals. Directed by the amazing fashion photographer William Klein, the clip below opens with a futuristic, avant garde fashion show. The “clothing” is made of sheets of metal, making mobility rather difficult for the models. But when did high fashion ever concern itself with things like that?

Speaking of the 60s (an era which continues to inspire designers – note the mod trend for Fall 2013), here is a bit of footage of a fashion show of Elizabeth Taylor’s clothing line from 1968. Model Layla Pattie Boyd (who, at various points, was Mrs. George Harrison and Mrs. Eric Clapton), is seen wearing such outfits as “The African Queen” and “The Powder Puff.” Dig that groovy dancing (looks like fashion shows used to be more fun!). “Made for woman, with man very much in mind,” according to the narrator. Stick that in your Wayback machine, baby.

And from that scion of haute couture, Mr. T, we bring you, Be Somebody…Or Be Somebody’s FoolMr. T created this self-esteem video for teens in 1984 to promote individuality. In this, the fashion show portion of the video, he proudly tells us to “Table the label and wear your own name!” He presents a series of wildly dated “every day” fashions which could have only looked cool back in the 80s. Telling Calvin Klein, Bill Blass and others to “eat their hearts out” at the end, well, we’ve got to admit, Mr. T has won us over. (Ok, so it’s not the first time that has happened.) Do your own thing, even at the cost of looking like these guys!

We’ve got a soft spot for the 80s, and had to throw in this bonus commercial from 1980, featuring Debbie Harry shilling for Gloria Vanderbilt/Murjani Jeans. For those who are old enough to have caught this on tv the first time around (who, us?), we had this earworm stuck in our heads for years. (And now you will, too. You’re welcome.) But where else are you going to see a tv commercial with music by the Lounge Lizards? (Don’t blink. That’s John Lurie playing the sax in the club scene.) The commercial doesn’t hold up well, but Debbie does; she’s still the coolest chick on the planet.

For those of you who can’t get to Fashion Week (we know, your invitation to the Zac Posen show got lost in the mail), don’t sweat it, put on your maribou slippers and watch the shows at home. Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week (Lincoln Center) and Made Fashion Week (Milk Studios) will be live-streaming many of their shows.

New York Spring 2014 Fashion Week runs from September 5 – 12.

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